How to Become an Informed Caregiver
Many family caregivers are thrown into the role of a caregiver with no prior preparation or knowledge. As a result, many people become lost, panicked, and confused about what to do. This is a common experience and, at the very least, you do not have to feel like you are alone in this role. In this blog, we will cover the importance of knowing where to find information and knowledge to help make your role as a caregiver easier. Many of the challenges a caregiver faces results from not knowing how to respond to various situations. Fortunately, there are numerous resources to explore to help you get the information you need.
One potential challenge must be noted: the difficulty of finding reliable information. Many information sources exist out there, especially because the Internet is filled with blogs, articles, news sources, and so on. But how can we be so sure that the information we read is reliable? One way around this is to ask a professional, like your loved one’s doctor, case manager, pharmacist, and other medical professionals. If you are speaking to a counselor, then they may also have great resources for you to explore. Taking these precautions by talking to a medical or caregiving professional can ensure that you do not waste countless hours reading incorrect or inaccurate information on the internet.
Below are some things to keep in mind before asking for help from a professional.
(1) Gather Background Information: One of the most important things is to know what your loved one’s needs are. This means having a detailed understanding of their condition by accompanying them to their doctor’s appointments. Their doctor will not only be able to tell how to prepare and what to do, but they can also point you to the appropriate resources for you to research to educate yourself further about your loved one’s condition.
(2) Know What Your Loved One Needs: The first point entails this second suggestion. If you are going to search for accurate information to become a better caregiver, then it will only help you to know what your loved one’s needs are. This means paying close attention to your loved one on a day to day basis, speaking to them about what they need, and examining what has changed over time to see what kinds of resources can help alleviate negative changes. One great strategy is to begin compiling a list of things you learn as you interact with your loved one. Keep this list in order to help you talk to your loved one’s doctor or to your caregiving counselor so you can get precise information based on your loved one’s needs.
(3) Identify Accurate and Reliable Information: As indicated above, there will be many cases when you have to rely on the Internet, buy books, and make phone calls with no guidance. This is one of the great challenges any research endeavor entails. One way to verify whether information is accurate is to see where it comes from. For example, stick to information coming from reputable organizations, like Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center, Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Family Caregiving Alliance, and so on. Some famous Alzheimer’s blogs can also be great to explore. When in doubt, make sure any information is coming from a reputable organization. To know what these are, it is always good to check with medical professionals or caregiving counselors.
If you have any other questions, then please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.